I saw the cover of this book at a book sale and I fell for it, hard. It’s a compilation of “genre” short stories: westerns, sci-fi, horror, crime, etc. The reason for my instant need to own? Contributing authors include: Michael Chabon (who also edited), Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, Michael Crichton (who sadly contributed a rather lame tale), Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, and more. Love at first sight, I’ll tell you.
It mostly lived up to my expectations as well. The majority of stories were quick and fun. The Stephen King tale was from the Dark Tower universe, which by itself made the book worth the price of admission for me, but if you like a broad variety of fiction bundled into one little package, then this will work for you, too. There’s something here for everyone. I liked reading the stories by people I’ve never heard of, as well. Sherman Alexie’s “Ghost Dance” was particularly well done, I thought. Some of the stories dragged (“The Nazi Canary” by Michael Moorcock…ugh), but the nice thing about a short story collection is you can skip the junky ones if they don’t draw you in, and move on to something else.
McSweeney’s bundled the collection in the style of pulpy fiction. Each short story has a a cheesy introduction and daring illustration to accompany it. They’re all tied together quite well. It’s really a great little read.